How to Create a Monthly Budget Spreadsheet

by Chris on April 23, 2012

In many cases, creating your own budget spreadsheet is easier and more economical that using advanced budgeting software or online tools. That’s because it gives you complete control over your data, the format, and the level of detail you’d like to analyze.

We’ve found that having control over the expense breakdowns, as well as the formatting and level of detail is often preferred by many do it yourself budgeters.  Many other budget ways require you to download all of your personal data into someone else’s website or software program, whereby you lose control of your data.  Having all of your information in a spreadsheet that you can control yourself avoids this issue.

In this post we will briefly discuss our monthly budget worksheet and provide a video of how to easily create your own.  We’ll also offer a free copy of the template created in our video for download.

What Does Our Monthly Budget Template Do?

Quite simply, the template that we created in the video below does a simple analysis that compares each of your month’s budgets to specifically analyze month to month performance.  As most budgets do, it starts with a list of income and expenses for one month.  It then uses spreadsheet formulas to calculate the percent changes of each expense and income category for each month.  If you are interested to see how we developed this monthly budget, please watch the video we made:

Hopefully you found that video interesting.  Of course it wasn’t that interesting, it’s a video about budgeting.  However, hopefully you can watch how I went through the monthly budgeting process and learn to do it for yourself.  If you would like to download a free copy of this budget, here is the link:

If you download the budget spreadsheet, you should know a few things.  First, the cells in yellow are input cells.  If a cell is not in yellow, then it is a formula and you do not have to enter anything into that cell.

Second, the spreadsheet can be modified to add any expenses, income or other budgeting formulas to it.  However, make sure you take the following steps when adding:  Start by adding a new row for each budget item you want to add.  Then copy the formats from an existing row and paste into the row.  Then, you’ll need to make sure that you add a similar row in the month to month percentage change report.  For example, if you added a new row for health care expenses to your budget, you’d also have to add a new row with the same title in the analysis section below.  And finally, you’ll need to modify any formulas to include the new rows that you add.  In the budget section, you’ll need to make sure that totals include the new row.  And in the percent change section, you’ll just have to copy and paste the formulas from another row for it to work.

Finally, feel free to modify the budget spreadsheet to your liking.  We recommend making it as detailed as possible when it comes to your expenses.  It would also be appropriate to add rows at the bottom or top of the budget that calculate all discretionary and non-discretionary expenses.  By tracking your discretionary expenses, it is easier to tell if you are making progress each month on your budget.